"In fifty years of sanitarium practice, I have had the opportunity to work with over 350,000 patients. Of all these people, not one of them was free from some form of bowel mismanagement."
"Death begins in the colon."
Dr. Bernard Jensen, Chiropractor, researcher and father of American iridology (1908-2001)
"Over the years," Jensen said, "the idea has taken hold that we need not pay any attention to the bowel. 'Leave it alone and it will take care of itself. It is dirty and not nice to talk about."'
Fortunately, this attitude changed in 1985 when Ronald Reagan underwent colon surgery. Unfortunately, the incidence of colon disorders has not changed for the better—between 150,000 and 200,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States and the trend is upward. Dozens of conditions ranging from constipation and hemorrhoids to irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, and colon cancer threaten all classes of Americans.
A common factor in each is a compromised biological terrain. This broad descriptor calls for an understanding of what the colon is, what its job is, and what constitutes the ideal terrain.
The colon is a two to four inch wide tube, typically four to six feet long. It receives the digested contents of the small intestine, conveys them up an ascending section, across a transverse arch, and down a descending section that ends at the rectum, where it awaits defecation.
While the job of the colon in transporting unusable waste for elimination is generally understood, the colon has an equally important function - recycling. Water is removed along the way, as the liquid intestinal chyme is efficiently converted into much dryer feces. What happens to the water? The colon recycles it, offering (hopefully) fresh, reusable water to the body. Most of us are not accustomed to thinking of the body receiving a considerable amount of its needed water from a source other than drinking. It is very helpful to visualize this, as it leads directly into consideration of what an ideal colonic terrain consists of.
To accomplish its two main functions, the walls of the colon should be clean, unencumbered by polyps, diverticular pouches, mucoid plaque, strictures, and spasmodic or ballooned sections. Longitudinal and circular muscles must be healthy to enable peristalsis (the periodic kneading action that mixes and impels the waste forward). Colon walls must be healthy and free of mucoid plaque to allow osmosis of water thru the walls; as well, they must not be compromised by an over-porous or perforated condition (as in Leaky Gut Syndrome) to prevent the recycled water from backwashing toxic substances into the bloodstream (causing among other things allergic reactions). Attaching ligaments must be elastic and unstretched (to maintain proper positioning and avoid prolapse). Arterial and venous blood supplies must be open and unconstricted to avoid dilation (as in hemorrhoids) or diminished flow. The inlet (ileocecal) and outlet (anal) valves and sphincters must open and close properly in response to involuntary and voluntary signals. The chyme dumped into the colon must have a proper balance of fiber and other wholesome foods, uniformly digested and free from highly refined foods, (white flour, excess fats etc.) to encourage easy transit. Overlong transit times (from factors like excess meat in the diet) encourage waste to sit and putrefy, especially if the desirable intestinal flora (acidophilus, bifidophilus) is not present, as when a course of antibiotics indiscriminately destroys these needed bacteria.
Once you understand the normal, ideal colonic terrain, you can easily understand how to encourage restoring and maintaining colon health. If your terrain is compromised, you may need diagnostic tests to identify, and therapeutic measures to rebuild the colon. Non-invasive tests that do not threaten a stressed, weakened or spastic colon are preferred.
Often a program of dietary changes, cleanses, stress reduction, colonic irrigation, herbal supplementation, parasite eradication or energy techniques can yield surprising changes, avoiding heroic measures like surgery, or symptomatic remedies that fail to address the compromised biological terrain. A thoughtfully crafted regimen that considers and weighs each of the contributing factors can do much in putting you back on the road to regular bowel habits, homeostasis and good health.